IT’S always been about music for Hedi Slimane. Inviting us into Le Palace in Paris, a nightclub referred to as the French version of Studio 54, the designer hinted at a more enriched return to his famed rockstar aesthetic for Celine Homme‘s autumn-winter 2023 collection.
This idea of coming back to his roots stems further than his rock’n’roll touch but begins with the location of the show, a place that sparked his vision for the future. Stating in the show notes that this was a place he came to from the age of 16 and where he went to celebrate his 50th birthday five years ago, AW23 was a sentimental return to who Slimane is and his unmistakable taste that seamlessly merges music with clothes.
While Le Palace may have been frequented by stars such as Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, and many more, Slimane ushered in a new era of club kids. Interested by how today’s youth, in particular Gen Z, are influenced by the clash of electronic music and rock sounds from the early noughties, what emerged was a uniform that played with Parisian glamour, autumnal layering and most aptly, fur, sequins and fringing – to some extent, this is Slimane at his very best.
There are three archetypes Slimane designs very well. The first focuses on leather. Think tight black leather trousers, biker jackets that are customised with either leather studs or rhinestones, and bombers built for layering hoodies underneath. With a colour palette suited for the evenings, the ostentatious hot pink leather jacket with matching leather trousers was a welcomed gasp of newness and was screaming to be worn by one of Slimane’s older members of his tribe, like Iggy Pop.
The second archetype is wear the House he is designing for comes into the equation. Think long jackets made from thick wool, worn open to present some modern fitted suiting, or arriving slightly oversized and cut to be double breasted to shy away from sight.
If you manage to catch a closer glimpse of the clothes as the models stomp at pace through the nightclub, you are met with meticulous detailing, a type of savoir-faire not seen elsewhere from Parisian brands as Slimane understands the requirement for clothes that sparkle all through the night.
Lastly, the untamed rock’n’roll codes are threaded throughout whole looks. Neckties, slim-fitting trousers and mid-length fur coats are seen alongside bare-chests and waistcoats, and leopard print shirts and tuxedo blazers, coming together to harness the sex appeal of the stage onto the runway.
Though many may argue against Slimane’s unwavering aesthetic, in an industry driven by trends and change, his obsession with his vision is a comforting constant. There is a clarity to his looks, to his silhouettes and to each piece that yells Slimane and he knows it, and more importantly he knows it works – and isn’t that exactly how a designer should be?
by Imogen Clark